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By Heldden Byumvuhore

When I think about my life, I understand that I am blessed. I do not mean in the “we are all blessed to be sons- and-daughters-of-God” sense, but in a way that I feel may be unfair . I feel as though I was privileged by a higher power. Being born with Rwandese blood in my veins, but in Kenya, and growing up identifying with the Kenyan culture and ways, my life has always been a mixture of diverse identities. I would speak one language with my friends at school, another with my best friends then another with my parents and with my siblings. We just had a mixture of languages going around, now that I think about it, one can compare it to an actual fruit punch, where anything goes as long as it slides off the tongue right.

I did not realize then that in a household of ten kids, my parents had no stable income whatsoever. This is the part where the blessings I talked about come in, because regardless of the fact that we were stateless refugees, with parents with no reliable income, I was still awarded a scholarship from the national Kenyan Government and attended a semi-private elementary school, and almost as if the blessing kept raining down I was offered another scholarship to attend secondary school. 

This offer was miraculous; I say this  because if anyone has ever been a stateless refugee anywhere, they know that these things are as rare as shooting stars, some people are born and die without ever having such an opportunity, we were told that our countdown has begun and we are finally going to be resettled in Canada. We were settled in a bilingual province and we all had to learn French for the very first time.

After I graduated High School, I decided to move from my parents’ house to Montreal. It was not an easy road but I established myself, got friends, played sports, won awards, got involved in student politics, graduated CEGEP and even got into my first choice of program in University. At some point I would sit down and cry because I just did not understand how it was even possible for me to do all that I had done and still have the drive to do more.It seemed like I wanted more and more and more again. I wanted it all since I felt like if I didn’t receive   any new opportunities at that moment, the blessings might move on to someone else who needed them and that was a risk I was not willing to take. I wanted to keep the favour that I thought I always had, and was afraid to lose it.

The reason I wanted to write this is because I have recently faced by some trying times that made me doubt the aforementioned blessings. I have found myself not believing that I am blessed. It may be hard to imagine that the girl who has pushed through when others have failed has started to doubt. I wonder how could I have let something, someone, some circumstance, some experience, make me doubt my blessings? To anyone reading this, and may have started to forget how blessed they are, take a second, think about it, I’m sure  you will see just how blessed you have been.

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    Heldden Byumvuhore


    Heldden Byumvuhore is Rwandan, born and raised in Kenya. She is a student of political science and first peoples (aboriginal) studies with a minor in law and society at Concordia University. For her, African femininity represents resilience; SAYASPORA will therefore be her platform to show, through her words, how the African woman is an unstoppable force.

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